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How to combine and separate?


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Jan 15, 2007, 12:13pm Top

Hi. I am new to LT and this group and I have a very basic question. I've been reading here about when and when not works and authors should be combined or separated, and some of the pitfalls involved, but I have yet to find information about how the actual combining and separating is accomplished. Can someone post something here to point me in the right direction or to help get me started with this ? Thanks.

Edited: Jan 15, 2007, 2:03pm Top

Books / Works

1. Read the What are works? guide very carefully. When you are pretty sure that you understand it.

2. Go to any author page and click on the (combine/separate works) link

3. Read the right hand column on the next page very carefully (yes I know it repeats everything you've just learnt by heart from the previous page).

4. If and only if you are now fully and completely confident . . . scan the left hand column for books/works that really truly belong to the same work and need to be combined.

5. If you are absolutely 100% certain then select the check boxes by the two books (and no others). Then go to the top or bottom of the page and click the 'Combine Works' button.

6. Read the confirmation screen carefully to make sure that nothing else has crept in there (seriously, it's simple to inadvertently select a book whilst scrolling down a long page). If it's OK click 'Combine'.

7. If LT is behaving itself you should be taken back to the author page and will find that the books are now all in one work.


1. Go to the author page, you'll see a 'Search for Authors' box at the top right.

2. Uncheck 'combine with . . .' just below - it's too easy to combine the wrong authors.

3. Search for something and you'll get a list of possible authors to combine.

4. Check out very carefully that any author you propose to combine really is the same person, writing the same books and isn't entangled with any other author.

5. Click the combine link and the two authors will combine, that is one will become an alias for the other and all their books will be merged together into a single list.

That's it really for combining except that the touchwords are If in doubt don't.

Happy combining.

Jan 15, 2007, 12:51pm Top

There are three types of combination possible:

To combine two authors.
1) find the author page for one of the authors. either click on the author name almost anywhere, or use the search page.
2) look in the right hand panel, is the other author given as an option, if so click and its done.
3) otherwise go to the yes you can link at the bottom of the pannel, this allows you to search for the second author and then combine.

1) On the author page at the top of the list of books you will see combine/separate. this link takes you to a list of works with the component editions of each listed.
2) to combine selct two or more works and then the combine button (at the top or bottom).
3) to separate an edition from a work just hit the separate link next to the edition.

fisrt find the tag page using search on the tag (right hand column of search page).
At the bottom of the right hand panel there is a link to the combine page. This allows you to combine only with related tags (those commonly on the same books as the fist tag).
There is a way to combine other tags (or there was at one time) but I can't remember the details.

But remember only combine if you are sure they belong together. If you're not sure, either don't, or in the case of works, look at the list of "who's helped" at the bottom of the right hand panel on the combine/separate page and send one of them a message.
"I see you have done combinations on author x, I think book y should be combined with book z, am I right?"

Edited: Jan 15, 2007, 1:24pm Top

I am glad some others replied here first with clear instructions.

msodalil, a quick look at your library sorted by shared brought up several examples where you might start. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring at the top of your shared list is a simple example, if you click on the author name, the right author page Rachel Carson comes up.

You are familiar with this author so can quickly see in the list on the right, if any inappropriate name is combined with the author, it looked fine to me, then scan down the book titles on the list to the left. I noticed some titles that might be combined.. The answers are not all black and white. Should it make enough of a difference whether Al Gore wrote the introduction to Silent Spring, for example, to keep this edition apart from the rest?

There are more difficult problems ahead though, clicking on the author Wilson, Edward O takes you to another author entirely. That is a nice mess, an example of what happens with single names ( such as Wilson ) combined with full author names.

Sorting out the different editions of the Roger Tory Peterson bird guides, looks like a lot of fun too. Be careful, this can be addicting.

Jan 16, 2007, 1:17am Top

Thanks for the replies! I posted a message in the FAQ group a few days ago regarding the interpretation of "median/mean book obscurity". I got several replies and in the follow-up exchange with SimonW11 I mentioned that I have found incorrect information coming back for some of my books when I add them. I have found this somewhat annoying, but thought nothing about editing the title, author, date, and publication fields to more accurately describe my books.

SimonW11 cautioned me to be careful doing this, however, because doing so could isolate these books from others, and perhaps cause memother problems. He suggested that I look into combining and check out this group (Combiners!). He also suggested that my editing might be a contributing factor to my book obscurity rating being exceptionally low -- I have 583 listings in my library so far and have an obscurity rating of 2/9. :-) But really, after adding books and before doing any editing at all, if any, I am finding that very few people share my books so I don't think this is a big contributing factor.

Anyway, I will look into the combining thing and I promise to be careful to understand what I am doing before taking any action, if any. I have printed out the instructions provided above as a starting point for guidance. Additional suggestions or recommendations are welcome.

Jan 16, 2007, 3:18am Top

Did I say that :^) it is always strange to see yourself through others eyes.

Edited: Jan 16, 2007, 9:00pm Top

msg 5 > Additional suggestions or recommendations are welcome.

Well disregard my 'cleanup' suggestions in msg 4 for starters ; )

I had another look at your catalog last evening, and clicked on several amazon.com entry authors of books not shared with anyone. I easily found one example where you shared books by the same author with others, just not the same book title, so there is hope, perhaps your subjects are not all that obscure after all. I also found two examples of books that do match your books, with only slight differences in title. ( at least I think so , you will know better than I do )

(1) Your copy of Jane Embertson's Pods: Wildflowers and Weeds in Their Final Beauty; Great Lakes Region, Northeastern US and Adjacent Canada doesn't quite match up with the others, perhaps because of the longer subtitle, or perhaps something as simple as not having a space in front of the " : ".

Amazon entries tend to miss that space, library sources put the space in, it usually doesn't make a difference to LT, but sometimes it does.

{ I should add here -- do NOT edit your title to match another, even something as simple as putting a space in front of a colon. BTDT, I am saying this from experience, best to just combine the titles, that's what title combining is all about }

(2) Your Theodora C. Stanwell-Fletcher book Driftwood Valley is an example of a title changing over a period of time. Your copy was published in 1946, another user has a more recent paperback edition entered from the Library of Congress. The MARC record for that user's book states that the book was originally published in 1946 by the publisher of your book. So that is a definite match.

Jan 23, 2007, 11:13am Top

Hi, I've just joined this group and I think I've got my head around the concept of a work, but before I rush off and start combining for fun, are there any pitfalls I need to be aware of? ???

What's the etiquette of combining something somebody's manually entered?
Eg port entry and port eternity ? I'm pretty sure that Cherryh never wrote anything published as Port Entry. So far I've just left a note on the 1 member's library, but I could go ahead and combine these two without them "approving". Should I? and should I in all similar instances? When should I not?

Jan 23, 2007, 12:01pm Top

I've done so for manual entries if it is clearly a simple mistake or typo by a user who seems to otherwise know what they are doing. This though is a bad entry from amazon.com. Try putting "Port Entry" in the add books box and see what comes up.

I saw your note to the user, it was nicely worded from one Cherryh fan to another. I bet the user hadn't even noticed the wrong title had been entered.

Jan 23, 2007, 12:51pm Top

I try to remember to make messages about errors in other peoples libraries private. It's a tick box under the message.

Jan 31, 2007, 2:26pm Top

I managed to combine Bridget M. Cook with 2 others. I'm wondering why this one now shows up with also known as links to the others, and the others with this entry has been combined with. Has it been beginners luck? Can I influence which one gets the aka's?

Edited: Nov 28, 2010, 1:09am Top

I'm new to this whole 'combining' thing and thus am really confused. I've added a book, the LibThing page of which is clearly not right: Kink : a Straight Girl's Investigation
"by Stephanie Clifford-Smith (otherwise under Kerry Greenwood)". Clifford-Smith isn't otherwise known as Kerry Greenwood, and all the reviews written are for another book entirely; "Forbidden Fruit", to be exact. I have no idea how to solve this - I've read the threads and stuff, but I clearly need some help with this!

Edited: Nov 28, 2010, 1:33am Top

It looks like several different books were incorrectly combined with the Forbidden Fruit book. I separated out Kink and the other incorrectly combined works. The work page for Kink is now here:

For reference, you can separate books from the editions page, or you can post requests in the Combiners! group's latest help thread.

Edited: Nov 29, 2010, 11:44pm Top

Thanks for untangling that, rsterling.
I have another question: Medieval Europe: A Short History has two authors - Judith M. Bennett and C. Warren Hollister. However, I cannot seem to list the book under both authors and so there are now copies of the same book on LT with either one or the other person mentioned as author. Is there a way to list the book with both its rightful authors?

Nov 30, 2010, 12:12am Top

Unfortunately, the way LT currently works, a work will only show on a single author's page. If a work is simultaneously on two pages, that is because the two works displayed require combination, OR the cache hasn't caught up with the work yet and if you give it time, it'll settle onto just one of the pages.

Edited: Nov 30, 2010, 2:23am Top

The correct thing to do is list just one of the authors in the Author field, and the other in the Other Authors field on the Edit Book page. Eventually, when/if the Other Authors work is completed, it should appear on both author's pages.

Jun 6, 2014, 3:02pm Top

How do I insure that when I combine authors, I don't lose the author information (place of birth, short bio., etc.) Also, if one name is the real name and the other is a pseudonym, should I combine from the pseudonym page or from the real page. I've had some strange things happen when I combine authors, so I have pretty much stopped doing it. Right now I have a rather obscure author (only two books in the 19th century), so I don't imagine that someone more skillful will combine the two records.

Edited: Jun 6, 2014, 3:23pm Top

The direction of the combination shouldn't matter. If it does, and book data gets trapped, that's a bug and should be reported. There have been some reports of this in the past, that is: author A is combined with B and B with C and for some reason the books under A don't appear under C. I don't think staff has ever looked at the problem soon enough to identify the underlying issue. But again, it shouldn't happen, and mostly doesn't.

CK data can get stuck. But when that happens a combination warning appears in the right hand column of the combined author page. The warning includes a link to a special page that facilitates copying the stranded CK onto the main page.

Group: Combiners!

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